Anas: “This time, I trained my students to instil values and build their characters.”

It appears that Physical Education (PE) teachers receive a lion’s share of love and harmony from their students, setting them apart from other educators. This closely describes what Anas, a PE teacher at Al-Muqabalain Primary School in the Jordanian capital, Amman, shared with Generations For Peace (GFP) in a recent interview. He provided insights into his experience in the “Riadati” programme from a teacher’s perspective, highlighting how the Summer Sport Camps held during breaks can positively impact students’ lives.

Anas describes the feelings of students, saying: “In general, a beloved teacher can communicate more effectively with students than others. However, the PE class has a unique character; it’s the only class free from pressure. The atmosphere of fun, movement, and activity makes any student ready to give the teacher their full attention and listen carefully. During or after playing, they comprehend the messages you’re trying to convey and respond positively. That’s why PE teachers are usually closer to students than other teachers.”

With six years of teaching experience, Anas participated in the “Riadati” programme, translating to My Sport in English, in 2023. Anas, alongside 39 other PE teachers, was trained by GFP to utilise the tool Sport for Protection and Peace, creating safe spaces for students affected by displacement. Throughout the training sessions, PE teachers designed various sports activities to enhance mental health and provide psychosocial well-being.

Anas explains: “During the GFP training, I realised a different aspect of sports. Normally, I train my students to improve their technical skills and physical fitness, or to prepare them for a specific competition. However, this time, I trained them to convey messages and instil values that build their characters and bring about changes in their personalities.”

Trained teachers volunteered to facilitate 32 Sport Camps nationwide during the school summer breaks of 2022 and 2023, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Jordan School Sport Federation.

Anas shares his experience: “About 100 students from Al-Qwaismeh Directorate participated in the 2023 Summer Camps. My colleague and I cooperated in the field, we organised separate sessions for males and females to provide a safe, enjoyable, and comfortable space for learning and interacting, spreading concepts of trust, inclusion, and belonging through activities such as basketball and volleyball. We placed a strong emphasis on fostering teamwork principles to reach our objectives. Additionally, we incorporated activities that weren’t centred around winning or losing, intending to convey to our students that genuine competition fosters a spirit of love rather than breeding hatred.

Describing the students’ feelings during the summer camps, Anas says: “They eagerly awaited the training hour, arriving at school early. They enjoyed a soothing and wonderful state of mind. Additionally, sessions went by in a blink of an eye. We would ask them about their opinions to let them share their feelings and express themselves. Nowadays, I come across some of them at school, and the Summer Sport Camp is remembered as a beautiful, shared experience. They talk about it and ask if we will organise new camps in the upcoming years.”

When asked about the most challenging aspect of implementing the camps, Anas said: “I wish we had more time and space to carry on and design a broader range of activities that students themselves could decide upon. But overall, the experience was successful, and I am very happy with what this experience reflected on my students.”